Today in Baltimore Orioles history, on February 4, 2011, the team signed Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year contract.
The Baltimore Orioles have a fair share of Hall-of-Famers that have donned the orange-and-black. A few names that come to mind are Cal Ripken, Jr., Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and now, Vladimir Guerrero.
Seven years ago today, the O’s and Guerrero agreed to a one-year, $7.6MM contract and now, after receiving 92.9% of votes, Guerrero is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
Guerrero will be joined this year by former San Diego Padres closer, Trevor Hoffman, former Atlanta Braves third baseman, Chipper Jones, and Cleveland Indians legend, Jim Thome – another former Oriole.
Twenty-two years ago, a 21-year-old Vlad Guerrero made his major league debut.
On September 19, 1996, batting sixth for the Montreal Expos, Vladimir Guerrero collected his first hit in the fourth inning of a game the Expos won, 5-to-1. That hit was number one of 2,590 – good for 86th on the all-time list.
A little-known fact is that Vlad’s 2,590 hits are the most ever by a Dominican born player.
Guerrero was with the Expos for eight seasons, batting .323, and appearing in four All-Star games. While in Montreal, Guerrero finished in the top-10 in MVP voting two separate seasons, 2000 (6th) and 2002 (4th).
He led the National League with the Expos in many outfield categories, numerous years. In 1998 and 1999, he led in putouts as a right-fielder, with 325 and 322, respectively. In 2001 and 2002 he led the league in outfield assists, with 14 both seasons. And finally, he led the National League in double plays turned as a right-fielder in 2001, with five.
On to Anaheim, Vladdy signed a six-year, $82MM deal with the Angels.
In 2004, Guerrero began a stretch of four consecutive seasons with an All-Star appearance. He was voted league MVP in 2004 after slashing .337/.391/.598/.989 and hitting 39 homers while driving in 126 runs.
The league leader in runs scored (124) and total bases (366), Vlad helped lead the Angels to a 92-70 record and a first-place finish that season.
Now named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Vlad still posted significant numbers over his last five seasons out west. His slash line read .315/.379/.534/.913. He smacked 134 home runs and managed to drive in 490 runs.
A consistent threat to get on-base, he also led the American League in Intentional Walks four consecutive years.
Vlad received the free pass 26 times in 2005, 25 times in 2006, 28 times in 2007 and 16 times in 2008.
In 2008, Vladdy was part of the only 100-win season in Angels franchise history, leading that team in home runs (27), runs batted in (91), slugging percentage (.521) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.886).
Vlad’s final years with the Rangers and Orioles, and retirement.
The Texas Rangers picked up Guerrero on a one-year, $5.5MM deal, and he produced for them just as he did for the Expos and Angels.
The 2010 season saw Guerrero appear in his ninth overall All-Star game, as the veteran appeared in 152 games that season.
He finished that season with 29 home runs, 115 runs batted in, and a batting average right at .300 – his 13th season of hitting .300 or better. In his age 35 season, Guerrero tallied his eighth Silver Slugger award.
After spending 16 years in the majors, Vlad hit .290 in his final season, leading the Orioles in that offensive category. He hit 13 homers, drove in 63 runs and notched 30 doubles. He was one behind Nick Markakis the or team lead.
After his tenure with Baltimore concluded, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Appearing in 12 games combined through High-A Dunedin and Triple-A Las Vegas, Vlad hit .358, with four homers. The Blue Jays were unable to find a roster spot for Guerrero though, and he opted-out of his contract in June of the 2012 season.
Guerrero announced his retirement in 2013, after being unable to find a comeback deal with a Major League team.